Flashback Friday: Half Magic

ffbutton2Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!

It’s a childhood favorite for this week’s Flashback Friday!

Half Magic (Tales of Magic, #1)

Half Magic by Edward Eager
(published 1954)


Synopsis (Amazon):

Edward Eager has been delighting young readers for more than 40 years with stories that mix magic and reality. Half Magic, the most popular of his tales about four children who encounter magical coins, time-travel herb gardens, and other unlikely devices, is a warm, funny, original adventure. The “Half Magic” of the title refers to a coin that the children find. Through a comical series of coincidences, they discover that the coin is magic. Well, it’s not totally magic–it’s only (you guessed it) half magic. That means there’s a certain logic to the wishes one must make to generate a desired outcome. Imagine the results emerging from inaccurate efforts: “half” invisible, “half” rescued, “half” everything!

If this book doesn’t delight you, then you, my friend, have no appreciation for magic!

Too judgmental? Sorry…

Half Magic is an enchanting book, and one that stands the test of time pretty well too. I remembered it vaguely from eons ago (a.k.a, my childhood), then read it again with my daughter and then again with my son — and each time, the magic just shone through. Despite some old-fashioned word usage, the overall themes and ideas are crystal clear and utterly entertaining: Four children, having a rather boring summer, find a magical coin that grants wishes — except it only grants half wishes. When someone wishes they were home, they find themselves suddenly on the side of the road, halfway there. Wish not to be somewhere… and you may find yourself halfway invisible with people shrieking about seeing a ghost. On and on the adventure goes, as the kids figure out the trick: Wish for double of whatever you want, and when it’s divided in half, you’ll end up with what you really want… which is a lot harder and takes a lot more cleverness than you might think.

Edward Eager wrote seven books in his magic series, some more directly linked than others. I remember Knight’s Castle as being one of the most amazing reads of my childhood (and have only recently come up with a copy, so I’ll need to reread it pronto), and have read Magic By The Lake with my son (not as great as Half Magic, but still a really good time).

Have you read any Edward Eager books? Which were your favorites? And if you had a coin that granted half wishes, what would you wish for? (My wish? To have the time to read every book I own — twice!)

What flashback book is on your mind this week?

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday fun:

  • Grab the Flashback Friday button
  • Post your own Flashback Friday entry on your blog (and mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the host of the meme, if you please!)
  • Leave your link in the comments below
  • Check out other FF posts… and discover some terrific hidden gems to add to your TBR piles!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

2 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Half Magic

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